By Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen - List of Koehler Images, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=255321
One researcher thinks the drugs of the future might come from the past: botanical treatments long overlooked by Western medicine.
All through time, humans have used smoke of medicinal plants to cure illness. To the best of our knowledge, the ethnopharmacological aspects of natural products' smoke for therapy and health care have not been studied. Mono- and multi-ingredient herbal and non-herbal remedies administered as smoke from 50 countries across the 5 continents are reviewed. Most of the 265 plant species of mono-ingredient remedies studied belong to Asteraceae (10.6%), followed by Solanaceae (10.2%), Fabaceae (9.8%) and Apiaceae (5.3%). The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%). Other uses of smoke are not exactly medical but beneficial to health, and include smoke as a preservative or a repellent and the social use of smoke. The three main methods for administering smoke are inhalation, which accounts for 71.5% of the indications; smoke directed at a specific organ or body part, which accounts for 24.5%; ambient smoke (passive smoking), which makes up the remaining 4.0%. Whereas inhalation is typically used in the treatment of pulmonary and neurological disorders and directed smoke in localized situations, such as dermatological and genito-urinary disorders, ambient smoke is not directed at the body at all but used as an air purifier. The advantages of smoke-based remedies are rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body and lower costs of production. This review highlights the fact that not enough is known about medicinal smoke and that a lot of natural products have potential for use as medicine in the smoke form. Furthermore, this review argues in favor of medicinal smoke extended use in modern medicine as a form of drug delivery and as a promising source of new active natural ingredients.
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Henna has been a part of West African culture for at least a thousand years. While it is likely that henna has been growing in North Africa as early as the Roman period, the oldest record that we have of henna in the region of West Africa is from the medieval Andalusi geographer al-Bakri (ca. 1014-1094), who writes in his book Kitāb al-Masālik wa-al-Mamālik (The Book of Roads and Kingdoms):
2016-09-25T18:05:17.548-04:00Amanda Janoo from UNIDO in MakingIT magazine
Ancient Africa has the world’s oldest and largest collection of ancient writing systems. Evidence of such dates to pre-historic time, and can be found in various regions of the continent. By contrast, continental Europe’s oldest writing, Greek, was not fully in use until c. 1400 BC (a clay tablet found in Iklaina, Greece) and is largely derived from an older African script called Proto-Sinaitic.
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The oldest Asian writing, Proto-Cuneiform, dates to around 3000 BC (clay texts found at Jemdet Nasr). However, the oldest known African writing systems are several centuries older...[more]
2016-09-25T00:10:50.142-04:00From Okay Africa:
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Muslim learning from Islam’s Golden Age. Yet Timbuktu is not unique. It was one among many scholarly centers to exist in precolonial West Africa. Beyond Timbuktu charts the rise of Muslim learning in West Africa from the beginning of Islam to the present day, examining the shifting contexts that have influenced the production and dissemination of Islamic knowledge—and shaped the sometimes conflicting interpretations of Muslim intellectuals—over the course of centuries...[more]
A well-known theater director, called Charlie Haffner, in Sierra Leone is inspiring people to be proud of their culture through traditional theater. He’s tired of Sierra Leoneons leaving for greener pastures and the negative images often shown of his country. It’s challenging, as interest in traditional theater has decreased but he’s determined to keep it alive...[more]
(image) (N. deVries/VOA)
economic policy, and his book offers interesting insights into the leadership’s ideas and motivations, especially when it comes to industry and exports. However, most of Ethiopia’s recent growth has come in the agricultural and service sectors, and so Oqubay’s argument that industrialization represents the key to economic success seems misplaced and mostly aspirational...[more]
2016-09-22T09:56:31.882-04:00Chika Ezeanya writes:
2016-09-22T06:00:21.735-04:00Yomi Adegoke writing in Vice:
Christianity still exerts a powerful force in many black communities, but some young women are turning their back on the faith and returning to the older, traditional religions of their ancestors.More here
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Imagine a school without classrooms, subjects, or grades. To some, it might resemble a six-hour long recess, filled with chaos, spitballs, and name-calling. Yet to three MIT alumni, such an environment looks like a hotbed of innovation.
NuVu Studio in Cambridge—founded in 2010 by Saeed Arida, David Wang, and Saba Ghole —aims to break the mold of contemporary education and foster creativity above all else for school-age children.
“When we go to traditional schools, things feel frozen in time,” says Arida, NuVU chief excitement officer. “The minute people come in the door, it becomes really clear to them how different this environment is from their traditional environment.”
"Oh, we have a hematology analyzer but it stopped working," the lab technician said as he pointed to a covered tabletop medical equipment in the corner used to measure blood count levels — an important but simple tool for a community where anemia and infections are prevalent.More here
The busted hematology analyzer, which I encountered during a visit to a hospital in the rural Kono district in Sierra Leone, has plenty of company in the hall of nonfunctional medical equipment. The landscape of the West African countries I've worked in — not only Sierra Leone but also Liberia and Nigeria — is strewn with broken machines. Sometimes they bear the name of the nonprofit group or aid agency that made the donation. I've seen the same problem during two stints in a rural Nicaraguan hospital in 2005 and 2008.
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The rise of a prosperous Africa will ultimately be based on the emergence of an assured African, confident in knowledge and identity, at home in Africa and the world at large. It was this spirit that surprised the Portuguese visitors to Kilwa in 1500.More here